Rory Lennox, the Duke of Abshire, is new to his title, which was bestowed upon him for services rendered to the Crown. As the story opens, Rory is caught in bed with his archenemy's still-innocent sister, Miss Verity Fitzroy, the morning after the (soon to be well known) bachelor party. Verity refuses to wed Rory, preferring to be sent away until things blow over. But once settled in Derbyshire, Verity becomes so bored that she actually agrees to educate the children in the village while their teacher is away for a fortnight or so. When Rory appears, Verity knows it is his intension to persuade her into accepting his hand in marriage. While Verity has always been fascinated by Rory, she has too much pride to wed a man against his will. In the end, she agrees to an engagement, which she insists that she will break off at the end of the season, even if it renders her unmarriageable. (Not that it matters, as she never intends to ever wed.)
Meanwhile, a London newspaper begins to publish excerpts from a mysterious diary, detailing the most shameful exploits of the most scandalous bachelor party (which was also attended by the Prince Regent.) These stories could easily incite the country to riot, as they come so soon after the French Revolution. Rumor is that Rory recorded his friends' misdeeds, but Verity knows he is innocent. Should the truth be revealed, it could destroy any hope of happiness for Verity. But when a series of mysterious accidents takes place, Rory realizes he must face down his greatest fears not only to save Verity, but to win her hand and her heart.
**** FOUR STARS! Author Sophia Nash sharpened her claws on certain gentlemen during the previous titles of this series. Now, to my utter delight, Nash sinks those slender talons deeply into the lives of Rory and Verity. I have been quoted in the past as describing Sophia Nash as "having an awe-inspiring, book-writing talent" and this story shows exactly why.
Unlike many other Heroines, this one has a backbone and can think for herself. She is not responsible for the stories printed, though they do come from her missing diaries. And unlike other Heroes, this one is certain of his actions (mostly) and has no urge to flaunt his brave acts from during the war to prove anything. The author has created believable characters and taken strides to keep events true to history. I found myself curious at some points and laughing aloud at others. Mystery, suspense, and romance collide to give readers a fun and memorable story. ****